Kurdish PKK rebels call for 'uprising'
after Turkish air strike on civilian Kurds
Dr. Bahoz Erdal from the
armed wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK)
ULUDERE, The Kurdish region of Turkey, —
Kurdish separatists in Turkey on Friday called for
an uprising after an air strike
killed 35 Kurdish villagers near the
Iraqi Kurdistan border in what the ruling party
admitted could have been a mistake.
As locals prepared to bury their dead, the admission
from Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's
party did little to assuage their anger.
"Damn you, Erdogan ... One day you too will know our
pain," shouted a group of protesters in Uludere, the
main town in the region of the bombing.
And the call for a new "serhildan" (uprising) also
served to ratchet up tensions further.
"We urge the people of Kurdistan... to react after
this massacre and seek a settling of accounts
through uprisings," Dr. Bahoz Erdal from the armed
wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) said in a
"This massacre was no accident ... It was organised
and planned," added Erdal, whose organisation is
labelled a terrorist group by Ankara and much of the
The PKK uses the term "uprising" for sweeping civil
disobedience as well as clashes with the police.
Turkey's military command said it carried out an air
strike on suspected PKK militants after a spy
spotted a group moving toward its sensitive
southeastern border under cover of darkness late
in an area known to be used by militants.
Turkey's ruling party Thursday said the strike could
have been a "blunder" that killed civilians and not
Kurdish separatists and police fired tear gas to
disperse stone-throwing youths in a pro-Kurdish
demonstration in Istanbul.
"According to initial reports, these people were
smugglers and not terrorists," said Huseyin Celik,
vice-president of the Justice and Development Party
"If it turns out to have been a mistake, a blunder,
rest assured that this will not be covered up," he
said, adding that it could have been an "operational
accident" by the military.
The main pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)
said the planes had bombed villagers from Kurdish
majority southeastern Turkey [Northern Kurdistan]
who were smuggling sugar and fuel across the border
on mules and donkeys.
"It's clearly a massacre of civilians, of whom the
oldest is 20," BDP leader Selahattin Demirtas said
in a statement that called on Turkey's Kurdish
population to respond "by democratic means."
Since it was established in 1984, the PKK has been
fighting the Turkish state, which still denies the
constitutional existence of Kurds, to establish a
Kurdish state in the south east of the country, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000
But now its aim is the creation an autonomous
and more cultural rights for ethnic Kurds who
constitute the greatest minority in Turkey, numbering more than 20 million. A large Turkey's
Kurdish community openly sympathise with the Kurdish PKK rebels.
PKK's demands included releasing PKK detainees,
lifting the ban on education in Kurdish, paving the
way for an autonomous democrat Kurdish system within
Turkey, reducing pressure on the detained PKK leader
Abdullah Öcalan, stopping military action against
the Kurdish party and recomposing the Turkish
Turkey refuses to recognize its Kurdish population
as a distinct minority. It has allowed some cultural
rights such as limited broadcasts in the Kurdish
language and private Kurdish language courses with
the prodding of the European Union, but Kurdish
politicians say the measures fall short of their
The PKK is considered as 'terrorist' organization by
Ankara, U.S., the PKK continues to be on the
blacklist list in EU despite court ruling which
overturned a decision
to place the Kurdish rebel group PKK and its
political wing on the European Union's terror list.
Istanbul on Thursday called by the BDP drew 2,000
people in the city's Taksim Square.
Afterwards, several hundred youths shouting pro-PKK
slogans threw stones at riot police, who responded
with water cannon and tear gas, making several
Police also clashed with protesters in Diyarbakir
and Sirnak, two mainly Kurdish towns in the
southeast, firing tear gas and water cannon in
response to demonstrators who threw stones and
petrol bombs, local security officials said.
The pro-Kurdish Firat news agency released photos
showing bodies wrapped in blankets, lying on the
snow side by side, while television pictures showed
angry and weeping villagers gathered around the
Locals used mules to carry the dead down from snowy
mountain slopes in Uludere district, which lies
about 20 kilometres (12 miles) from the Iraq border,
local media reported.
Kitan Encu's eyes welled with tears as she recounted
how she had to identify the bodies of Kurdish
relatives killed in the strike.
"They openly massacred us. Why was this blood
spilled? They must answer this question," said Encu,
who lost 11 family members in the air raid.
"I saw the bodies to identify them. They were all
burned, completely. They were in pieces," Encu said
as she sat by the bedside of her 75-year-old mother
in the State Hospital of Uludere.
"The oldest one was 20 years old, they were all
students," the 33-year-old said.
Clashes between Kurdish rebels and the army have
escalated in recent months.
The Turkish military launched an operation on
militant bases inside northern Iraq in October after
a PKK attack killed 24 soldiers in the border town
of Cukurca, the army's biggest loss since 1993.
In November Turkey bombed the Sulaimaniyah and Erbil
provinces of Iraq's autonomous northern Kurdish
region, wounding a civilian, Kurdish officials said.
Since August 17, Turkish jets repeatedly carried out
air strikes against the Kurdish PKK separatist
group's bases in
Iraqi Kurdistan region,
under justification of chasing elements of the
anti-Ankara PKK, forcing large numbers of Kurdish
citizens of those areas to desert their home
villages, including an air raid that
Kurdish civilians in a village north
of Kurdistan’s Sulaimaniyah city on August 21st.
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